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Case packer uses a power monitor to minimize energy consumption

A three-axis, side-load case packer receives up-to-the-minute information on energy use from a component mounted on the controls cabinet.

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Schneider Packaging has made a side-load case packer since the company was founded in the 1970s. The machine's controls platform has evolved from the days of "hard wiring and pneumatic valves," as Schneider's Terry Zarnowski puts it, to PLCs.

Eventually, a Rockwell controls platform emerged as the one put in place most of the time. It's used, for example, in Schneider's HCP-10 case packer. Rated at about 12 cases/min, this machine has three axes of servo motion all driven by Kinetix 6000 servo drives and MP-Series low-inertia servo motors. The machine's main controller is from Rockwell's CompactLogix series.

The latest modification to the controls package on the HCP-10 case packer, says Zarnowski, who is director of sales and marketing at Schneider, is the use of an energy monitoring device from Rockwell. Called the Power Monitor 1000, it resides in the controls panel and communicates with the machine's CompactLogix Programmable Automation Controller over an Ethernet connection.

"It provides energy use information in real time to the machine controller," says Zarnowski. "This information is used by the production planning and plant engineering teams to monitor energy consumption of the machine, adopt energy saving programs and policies for the facility, and minimize electrical usage during peak cost time. It also makes power usage patterns available on a plant-wide network so that trends can be tracked over time."

According to Rockwell's Leo Petrokonis, the Power Monitor 1000 is not a terribly new offering. "But these days, with as much emphasis as there is on sustainable packaging, OEMs are taking a whole new look at implementing such energy-saving solutions," says Petrokonis.

Where formerly they were more preoccupied with throughput, uptime, and other concerns, now sustainability is moving up their priority list, says Petrokonis. Zarnowski says that members of Rockwell's Sustainability Team met with Schneider engineers in Schneider's Brewerton, NY, facility to analyze opportunities where controls components might make the HCP-10 more sustainable from an energy consumption perspective. "They helped us develop not only this solution but also some of the HMI screens that go along with it," says Zarnowski.

Now that Zarnowski has seen how effective the Power Monitor 1000 can be, he anticipates a broader use of it in the future. "We initially put the power monitor on one case packer to gauge customer response, and in short order the machine was sold to a food manufacturer," says Zarnowski. "Interest in it has been strong, so we anticipate making it a part of more machines going forward."
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